Those of you that know me likely know that I’m a Denver Broncos fan. So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been basically out of my gourd over The Super Bowl. I mean, I saw us barely survive New England, and then I saw Carolina DESTROY Arizona.
“How could we possibly beat this team?”, I asked myself. If I’m honest, I didn’t think we would. Cam Newton is a freak of nature.
But the answer was to play our defensive game, and hope Peyton doesn’t hurt us.
It was ugly, and our offense was inept at times, but we managed to come out on top. I jumped off the couch and shrieked when Von Miller stripped Cam and we recovered in the end-zone. I was screaming on every sack, every pressure even. Nothing like being on the edge of your seat every snap of the ball.
As much as the story was the defense, and the dominant play of Von Miller and his fellow pass-rushers who worked to neutralize the league MVP Newton, I just kept saying to myself throughout the game “just win it for Peyton”.
I remember how excited I was when I found out we were signing Manning. We literally went from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning. That’s like going from gristle to filet mignon.
From the commercials, to the gesticulating at the line every play, and the overall amazing cerebral game he plays for someone who looks so slight, it was hard not to love him immediately. He brings a certain gravitas to your team immediately. I knew we had a chance to win multiple Super Bowls with him at the helm. (Unless your team’s defense is garbage, and you get smoked 43-8 by the Seahawks). The bottom line is, my NFL team last won a championship half my life ago, when I was 17. I’ve been lucky enough to have them win 3 Super Bowls in my lifespan.
So, coming off a statistically awful year that finds him 39 years old, unable to feel his fingertips, and unable to evade many defenders (unless it’s that one play where he falls down and gets right back up to throw the ball), we’re left wondering if he’s going to hang it up and ride off into the sunset as The Sheriff.
I see both sides of it. There are those that say, you’ve finished on a high note. You’ve made it to the top of the mountain, you are tied with your brother Eli for career Super Bowl wins, and the top of the mountain is good. You’ve battled injuries all year, lost your starting job after missing six weeks, got it back, and won it all. What more is there to prove? You don’t need money. You’re set.
On the other hand, there’s the idea that you haven’t lost your passion for the game, for preparing, for practicing, etc. Who’s to tell you you’re done? As long as you still have that love, go for it.
My worry is, he’s owed $25 million next year or so, and the Broncos aren’t going to pay that for someone who is aging, declining in skill, etc. They probably shouldn’t, regardless of the fact that it’s Peyton. We’ve still got Miller to lock up, and plenty of other free-agents, including the young QB who guided us to success while Peyton was out, Brock Osweiler.
As sad as it is to say, that money is better spent elsewhere, but boy do I appreciate what Peyton has given us. So long, pardner.